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SA retailer Shoprite launches wholesale e-commerce platform

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South African retailer Shoprite Holdings has launched an online bulk shopping and delivery service platform for small businesses, including informal stores like spaza shops.

The launch marks the company's first move into e-commerce in the wholesaler space.

"Bulk-buying customers can now browse and purchase a wide range of goods at highly competitive prices through a fully automated online shopping system, with free delivery within a 50km radius," the retailer said.

Shoprite said that the platform was launched because spaza shops – informal convenience stores usually run from home – and smaller retail businesses often face significant obstacles, which include high transportation and fuel costs and difficulties in meeting demand within the informal sector.

Shoprite's aims

Shoprite Group's head of B2B eCommerce, Mark Cotton, claimed that the digital platform was created because of the company's commitment to small businesses by providing innovative solutions to the specific problems these enterprises face.

Shoprite's new digital platform marks the retailer's first move into wholesale e-commerce.   (Source: Shoprite)
Shoprite's new digital platform marks the retailer's first move into wholesale e-commerce.
(Source: Shoprite)

"The new Cash & Carry digital platform provides customers with reliable and visible stock access and delivery services that eliminate the need to store excess inventory, frees up much-needed cash flow, and gives business owners more time on the shop floor to focus on their customers and business growth," explained Cotton.

Shoprite added that the digital platform streamlines the purchasing and fulfilment process for Cash & Carry's in-store traders, allowing them to log in, access customer and product information, and build and fulfil orders more efficiently.

"Orders can be saved for future use, making the entire process more user-friendly," the statement continued.

Moreover, the digital platform offers multiple online and in-store payment options – including credit and debit cards, EFT, store credit, cash upon collection and Shoprite's Money Market Account.

South African online retail market growth

The South African e-commerce ecosystem has seen tremendous growth in recent years and Shoprite's digital platform is set to face stiff competition.

Shoprite entering the e-commerce space follows American e-commerce giant Amazon launching its online marketplace in South Africa in May.

The Shoprite digital platform will also compete with local retailers like Makro and e-commerce players like Naspers-owned Takealot, which also sells a wide range of bulk items.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

Shoprite venturing into the e-commerce space is also in line with an Online Retail in South Africa 2024 report by World Wide Worx in partnership with Mastercard, Peach Payments and Ask Afrika which revealed significant growth in SA's e-commerce market in 2023.

The report found that online retail grew 29% over the past year, positioning the sector to break the R100 billion (US$5.4 billion) mark by 2026.

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*Top image is of Shoprite's digital platform. (Source: Shoprite)

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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